What are we going to do about Copyright?

Gomez Luis Diego ldgomez at NS.OTS.AC.CR
Fri Nov 1 09:19:47 CST 1996

In my opinion we are mixing and confusing two issues. One is Copyright as
applied and used by a technical periodical, say, Systematic Botany or
Annales Zoologici Fennici to prevent illegal reproduction of an article.
The sdame goes for a book/form monograph, say  The Genera of Ants.
The other issue is the taxonomic and systematic information contained
therein, information or data that by its very nature is likely to be changed
by other researchers when more information on a particular name is gathered.
I can not imagine any scientist filing suit against another because that
other person changed her/his nomenclature of a beetle or a mint.
By the way, copyright of a publisher does not impinge on "intellectual
property" of the author. Example: I can write on November 96 a book on The
taxonomy of Onychophora and produce 1000 names according to ICZN. Island
Press takes the ms and publishes the book and copyrights it. On December
96 I could write another tome and reduce those 1000 names to 5, based on
a newly discovered character of taxonomic value or genetic marker, etc. I
could publish that new book in Fijian Press Paperback Editions, also
copyright, and Island Press could never prosecute me for it as long as
the new book is different and whatever materials taken from first version
are authorized. However, if all the contents are entirely diffrent and
new, Island Press could not and would not even dream of legal action. In
other words, I can and will always be free to think of onychophoran
namenclature as I please and do as I deem necessary for its improvement
(supposing I am not a quack velvet-worm taxonomist, which is another issue

Any law that takes intellectual property away from the individual is to be
fought against as the epitome of tiranny, bringing back memories of Stalinist
era. Remember genetics and anthropology in the USSR in those days?

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